It is always tough to be captain in a big sports town. Fans expect a lot from them.
That is not more evident in many other sports towns than it is in Philadelphia. Philadelphia fans want to see heart, determination, commitment and performance in their captain. When he is not showing all of those things, fans will be unhappy.
It is not unreasonable either. When the playoffs roll around, your best players have to be your best players, and your leaders have to step up even more.
(Photo: Flyers captain Claude Giroux falls to the ice after being knocked down by the Rangers' Derek Dorsett. Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
Henrik Lundqvist wasn't the only person standing in the way of the Flyers on Tuesday.
The New York Rangers goaltender had an entire team jumping in front of pucks, helping the Swedish netminder stop the Flyers' constant barrage of shots. It resulted in a 4-1 win for the Rangers and a 2-1 series lead.
The two teams will face off in Game 4 on Friday in Philadelphia. And if the Flyers want some type of good news heading into that game, it looks like Steve Mason will be starting.
(Photo: Henrik Lundqvist makes a first period save on Flyers RW Wayne Simmonds while Rangers D Dan Girardi looks on. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
It is said as a general rule that the first goal after a 2-0 lead is the most crucial. Jakub Voracek's monumental late first period goal sparked a comeback resulting in a 4-2 Flyers win over the New York Rangers. As a result, the series is tied at one apiece heading into game three.
As had been the largest story coming into this series, the Flyers snapped a nine-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden in comeback fashion.
Luke Schenn capped off the furious comeback by tapping home a rebound past a sprawled Henrik Lundqvist halfway through the second period. On a delayed penalty, Adam Hall collected a Michael Raffl pass and shoveled a shot on goal that popped right on Schenn's stick. No Ranger would score after that goal was scored.
Steve Mason practiced today at Chelsea Piers in New York City.
A day after the Flyers lost 4-1 to the Rangers in Game 1, Mason was on the ice in hopes to play in Game 2. When asked if he would be ready, he told reporters, “I’ll try my best.”
Mason's willingness to play in Game 2 isn't a reflection of how Ray Emery played in Game 1. With the Flyers out-shot 36-15 in the game, Emery's 32 saves were a testament to how well he played in spite of poor showing by the Flyers and a poorly-timed double minor by a rookie.
It seemed inevitable. Two periods of being outpossessed, outshot and outchanced eventually came back to bite the Philadelphia Flyers.
Jason Akeson's double minor penalty in the third period led to two power play goals from Brad Richards and Derek Stepan, which sunk the Philadelphia Flyers in game one by a score of 4-1. With the loss, it extended the team's losing streak at Madison Square Garden to nine games.
By virtue of finishing third place in the Metropolitan Division, the Flyers have drawn the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. The Flyers and Rangers split their season series, with both teams winning twice on home ice.
If you go back into the early episodes of the TCL Flyers podcast, you'll hear me proclaim Ray Emery as the Flyers' starting goaltender in 2013-14. Why? He had shown an ability to be competitive after suffering avascular necrosis in 2010. He also proved to be a valuable backup on a juggernaut Chicago Blackhawks team that won hockey's greatest prize.
Steve Mason, that other guy, played well during his seven-game tryout at the 2013 season's conclusion. Prior to that, I, and many others, fell into the trap of thinking of Mason as the sad sack goalie from The Buckeye State with undersized pads who produced a record fit for the NHL's version of a discard pile.
Sunday afternoon didn't go exactly as Cal Heeter planned, but it was a memorable experience nonetheless for the rookie goalie, who made his NHL debut.
Heeter allowed five goals, including one in the shootout as the Flyers failed to complete one more comeback. They lost 6-5 in a shootout in their final game of the season before they begin a playoff series with the Rangers.
Heeter showed obvious jitters in the first period, allowing three goals while fighting with the puck for the first 20 minutes. He settled down for the remaining 45 minutes, allowing his team to climb back into the game and force overtime.
(Photo: Cal Heeter composes himself after allowing a first period goal. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)